Free States, States’ Rights & New Nationalism

Image from Kansas Historical Quarterly

IN MEMORY OF JOHN BROWN.

Colonel Roosevelt Will Dedicate Park at Osawatomie, Kas.

OSAWATOMIE, Kas., Aug. 28. — On the battlefield at the outskirts of this village, where fifty-six years ago John Brown, the fighting abolitionist, with a handful of stern free state men stood off ten time his number of pro-slavery guerrillas, Theodore Roosevelt next Wednesday will deliver an address dedicating the historic ground as a state park. A tract of twenty-two acres, the supposed scene of the battle of Osawatomie, was purchased some time ago by the woman’s relief corps of the Kansas G.A.R. and given to the state. It will be called the John Brown park.

The program of the dedication will cover two days, August 30 and 31. Colonel Roosevelt will arrive here at 9:30 in the morning of the 31st. First he will be taken to visit the old log cabin just west of the town, where, with his stalwart sons, John Brown lived until after the fight which gave him, the name “Osawatomie” Brown. He left the neighborhood and finally drifted back to the east and Harpers Ferry.

After luncheon Colonel Roosevelt, escorted by a troop of Spanish war veterans, will take part in a parade to the grand stand in the new park, where he will be introduced by Governor Stubbs of Kansas. On September 1, he will go to Kansas City, where he is to deliver an address on conservation.

The first day of the exercises is to be given over to martial music, patriotic recitations and a speech by Representative W.A. Calderhead of Kansas.

The battle of Osawatomie on August 30, 1856, the first instance in which the anti-slavery men of Kansas, known as the free state party, showed organized resistance to the bands of pro-slavery marauders, commonly called “ruffians” in that day, came as the direct result of the sack of Lawrence, the headquarters of the free state party. This brought matters to a head. Emboldened by success the pro-slavery leaders openly avowed a policy of extermination. Most of the dare-devil marauders who made up their fighting ranks were guerillas from Missouri.

John Brown, who had just come from the east, was the first to inspire his party to armed resistance. A few weeks after the sack of Lawrence he received word that 400 “ruffians” under General J.W. Ried were marching on Osawatomie. He hastily called forty-one supporters and armed them.

Stationing himself at the edge of a wood, he held the “ruffians” at bay in spite of their cannon, until further resistance meant massacre. Most of Brown’s men escaped by swimming the Marias des Cynges river. He lost six men killed and seven captured.

The loss to the “ruffians” has been reported at from ten to thirty.

The three survivors of the battle, the only ones so far as known, will be here to attend the dedication. They are Edward P. Bridgeman of Madison, Wis., who will have his three sons with him; D.W. Collins of Santa Monica, Col., and Luke F. Parsons of Salina, Kas.

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Aug 29, 1910

Portrait of Eli Thayer, 1819-1899, who in 1853-54 was a representative in the Massachusetts legislature, and while there, originated and organized the New England Emigrant Aid Company. He worked to combine the northern states in support of his plan to send antislavery settlers into Kansas. Lawrence, Topeka, Manhattan, and Ossawatomie, Kansas, were settled under the auspices of his company.

Image and caption from Kansas Memory

MISS THAYER HURLS WRATH AT ROOSEVELT

Indignant That John Brown Should Be Credited With Honors Belonging to Her Father.

WORCESTER, Mass., Sept. 19. — Enraged because former President Roosevelt, in his recent Osawatomie speech lauded John Brown as the greatest of Kansans, Miss Eva Alden Thayer, daughter of the late Congressman Eli Thayer, has taken the photograph of Colonel Roosevelt from the library of her home and thrown in on the ash heap.

Miss Thayer says:

“It is an historical fact that it was Eli Thayer and Dr. Charles Robinson who are responsible for the state being admitted January 29, 1861, as a free state, and it is certainly the height of impertinence and audacity for the man who says he believes in fair play and a square deal giving the credit to John Brown, the Harper’s Ferry insurrectionist.”

Lincoln Evening News (Lincoln, Nebraska) Sep 19, 1910

Lincoln Evening News (Lincoln, Nebraska) Sep 3, 1910

STATES’ RIGHTS ARE GIVEN BLOW

National Control is Thought Better.

ROOSEVELT SPEAKS

He Aligns Himself With the Pinchot Faction in Congress on Conservation Plan.

ST.PAUL, Minn., Sept. 7 — The doctrine of the “new nationalism,” which ex-President Roosevelt enunciated in his speech at Osawatomie, Kan., last week, was set forth still more clearly in his speech before the National Conservation congress. He declared for government control of the country’s natural resources, and in so doing he placed himself directly against the advocates of “state rights,” whose opposition to the principles which he laid down has furnished the liveliest debates of the conservation congress.

“If it had not been for corporate interests, especially those which may be described as predatory, we would never have heard of this question of state’s rights,” he declared. And later he said:

The Real Issue

“It is not really a question of state against nation. It is really a question of special corporate interests against the people.”

He said the corporations were anxious to have the states take up the work that they might escape all effective control.

The outbursts of applause which greeted Colonel Roosevelt as he delivered his speech in the auditorium were as long and loud as any he has heard during his western trip. Minneapolis and St. Paul dropped work for the day and  turned out to see the colonel. The school children, with hundreds of flags, saluted him as he rode by, bands were played and banners were everywhere.

When Colonel Roosevelt arrived at the capital the presidential salute of twenty-one guns was given him.

Spoke at State Fair

Colonel Roosevelt, after his speech at the conservation congress, went to the state fair grounds, between this city and Minneapolis. At the fair grounds he addressed the largest crowd of the day.

Last night he attended a dinner given by Colonel Alex O. Brode of the Rough Riders and left for Milwaukee, where he is to spend today.

Departed From Notes

Colonel Roosevelt made a number of additions to the speech which he had prepared for the conservation congress and most of his interpolations were made to emphasize his stand for “new nationalism.”

In speaking of the federal control of corporations, he said:

“In addition to the fact that the federal government is better able to exact justice from the corporations, I also believe it is less appropriate in some gust of popular passion to do justice to them.

Justice to Corporations

“I should like to see the people, through the national government, give full justice to the corporations,” he said elsewhere, “but I do not want the national government to depend only upon the good will of the corporations to get justice for the people.”

In regard to the control of waterways by railroads, Colonel Roosevelt said:

“You people must not sit supinely and let the railroads gain control of the boat lines and then say that the men at the head of the railways are very bad people. If you leave it to them to get control of the boat lines, some of them are sure to do it, and it is to your interest that the best and ablest among them should do so. But do not let any of them do it except under the conditions which we lay down. In other words when you, of your own will, permit the rules of the game to be such that you are absolutely certain to get the worst of it at the hands of someone else, do not blame the other men.

“Change the rules of the game.”

The colonel advocated drainage of swamp and over flow lands chiefly through activity of the federal government. He defended the work done to establish national forests and recommended the establishment of a federal bureau of health. When he came to speak of the national conservation commission, he made what was interpreted here as a sharp thrust at Congressman James A. Tawney.

Warren Evening Mirror (Warren, Pennsylvania) Sep 7, 1910

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